Cincinnati Reds: Nick Senzel’s rocky rookie year ends prematurely

CINCINNATI, OH - SEPTEMBER 02: Nick Senzel #15 of the Cincinnati Reds reacts after striking out in the third inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Great American Ball Park on September 2, 2019 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - SEPTEMBER 02: Nick Senzel #15 of the Cincinnati Reds reacts after striking out in the third inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Great American Ball Park on September 2, 2019 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /
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Nick Senzel will not see the field for the Cincinnati Reds the remainder of the 2019 season. Senzel has a torn right labrum that will put an end to a rocky rookie season in the major leagues.

Nick Senzel made it to the big leagues this year. For some Cincinnati Reds fans, Senzel’s arrival couldn’t come soon enough. A rash of injuries last season delayed the former first-round pick’s major league debut and a torn right labrum will end Senzel’s rookie season prematurely. So what do we make of Senzel’s rookie year?

First and foremost, I’m a big fan of Nick Senzel. I was, along with a lot of other fans, eagerly anticipating his 2019 debut. When Senzel was left off the 25-man roster to begin the season, I was befuddled. How could the Reds rely on Scott Schebler to be the everyday center fielder?

Well, as it turns out, they couldn’t. Schebler had a horrendous start to the 2019 season and after rehabbing an ankle injury that he sustained in a minor league game during Spring Training, Senzel made his major league on May 3rd.

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Senzel put up solid numbers during his first month in the big leagues. The Reds rookie slashed .279/.347/.468 with 4 home runs and 12 RBIs. He suffered a little drop-off in June, but still maintained an on-base percentage above .300 and smacked another four home runs.

Senzel’s numbers post All-Star break were pedestrian at best. With a slash line of .247/.303/.389, Senzel was solid, but unspectacular. The month of August really took a toll on Senzel. After tinkering with his swing, the 24-year-old saw his batting average drop to .184 and his OBP sunk to .238.

That was not the version of Senzel that Reds Country became accustomed to during the early part of the 2019 season. In fact, Senzel said he was going to change back to his old batting stance and swing mechanics. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to see Senzel make that change, as he hasn’t started a game since September 3rd and is now for out for the season.

One of the biggest questions this offseason will be what the Reds front office decides to do with Senzel in terms of what position he’ll occupy next season. As their top prospect going into the 2019 season, Senzel will be closest thing Cincinnati has to an everyday player, but where will that be?

For my money, I’d put Senzel at second base and find a suitable center fielder for next season. Senzel played out of position all season, albeit admirably, and some folks theorize that a return to the infield could cut down on his potential for injury. David Bell spoke about that yesterday via MLB.com:

"“It hasn’t been discussed what’s better for a shoulder. He’s so young that hopefully his shoulder — he gets through this and that won’t be a factor at all on what position he plays. I’m expecting a full recovery.”"

Whether he returns to the infield or takes his place in center field next season, it’d also benefit the Reds to find a home for Senzel in the batting order. For the vast majority of his games this season, Senzel was the Reds leadoff hitter. He excelled in that spot with a slash line of .277/.343/.474. Cincinnati would be foolish not to give Senzel every opportunity to win the leadoff job.

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While it wasn’t an ideal start to his major league career, Nick Senzel had plenty of positive moments this season as well. Hopefully Senzel recovers quickly from his latest injury and is able to take the field in time for Spring Training in Goodyear next February.